One of the most important tasks of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers is to lay the foundations for a good, secure working life by negotiating collective agreements. These agreements regulate issues such as working conditions, parental leave and occupational pension.
Holiday days, working hours and the right to parental leave are regulated in Swedish legislation. This applies to everyone who is employed in Sweden. However, the law covers far from everything and only specifies minimum levels. Thus, in addition to the law, there is the collective agreement negotiated between the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers and organisations representing employers.
What exactly is a bargaining round? It forms the basis for collective agreements and is a recurring event. The social partners negotiate new agreements that regulate salaries and working conditions and negotiations are carried out in three overall steps: focus and requirements, agreement negotiations and signing of agreements. Then, work on applying the agreements locally begins.
If you begin work with an employer who has signed a collective agreement, you can feel confident that you will have good working conditions. The terms and conditions contained in the collective agreement are binding on the company. The Co-determination Act states that employers must negotiate any major changes in the workplace with the party with which they have signed a collective agreement. This may concern the organisation, budget or terms of employment. Negotiations then take place with elected representatives who possess good knowledge of the workplace and can exert influence on your behalf.
It is vital to find out which collective agreement applies to your position so that you can learn about your working conditions.
There may also be local collective agreements in force at your workplace that complement the rules of the central collective agreement and provide even better conditions, such as extra benefits when on parental leave, skills development or flexitime. Find out what applies to you by contacting the elected representatives for graduate employees at your workplace.
As an employee of a company without a collective agreement, you must agree your working conditions yourself with your employer. This is carried out in your employment contract.
If you work for a company without a collective agreement, there can be a good level of benefits in the form of an occupational pension solution, salary supplement when on parental leave and annual salary review. Usually these are regulated in a policy designed by the employer. Consequently, the employer can, unilaterally and at any time, decide to change conditions for the worse - without negotiating with you. We offer support and advice for our members on such issues.
Look at our checklist for your employment contract so you do not miss out on anything important. The checklist can be found further down this page.
If you would like help in assessing an employment contract, please submit it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your employment contract states the agreements that you and your employer have concluded covering areas such as employment, form of employment, salary, overtime and any benefits in addition to collective agreement. If you do not have a collective agreement, your employment contract must include everything that is part of the collective agreement in order for you to work on equal terms.
Collective agreements can make a big difference to your wallet. For example, employees who have a collective agreement receive higher levels of benefits if they stay at home with ill children, become ill themselves or are unfortunate enough to suffer an occupational injury. Your pension is also positively affected by collective agreements, and the difference may amount to hundreds of thousands of kronor the day you stop working.
To see and calculate how your income would be affected in different situations depending on whether you have a collective agreement or not, visit knegdeg.se, which is a site operated by PTK on behalf of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers and other organisations.
Download Kollektivatalets Värde (The Value of Collective Agreements) from the document list below and read a detailed review of the value that a fictitious member actually gains from his/her membership.